Gaucho Foursome Earns Preseason Honors

James Nunnally and Orlando Johnson (Photo by Mike Janes)
James Nunnally and Orlando Johnson (Photo by Mike Janes)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara's Orlando Johnson and Bob Williams have been chosen Big West Conference Preseason Player and Coach of the Year, respectively, and Johnson is joined on the preseason all-conference first team by James Nunnally, announced.

Johnson was also selected First Team Mid-Major All-American and Jaimé Serna is a third team all-league choice by the website that specializes in the coverage of collegiate sports.

A two-time Big West Tournament Most Valuable Player, First Team All-Big West choice and league scoring champion, Johnson returns to lead a UCSB team that will be aiming for its third straight league tournament crown and NCAA Tournament bid.  As a junior, he averaged 21.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game while setting a school record for points in a season with 674 and tying the Gaucho record for points in a game with 39.

Johnson was also standout during the summer when he was a member of Team USA at the World University Games and a counselor at both the Kevine Durant Nike Skills Academy and the LeBron James Nike Skills Academy.

Williams is entering his 14th season as UCSB's head coach.  He enters the 2011-12 campaign needing just six wins to become the school's all-time leader in coaching victories.  He currently has 217 wins and has guided the program to three NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of National Invitation Tournaments, its only three Big West Tournament championships and four league regular season crowns.

Nunnally is a two-time All-Big West choice, including honorable mention recognition in 2011.  As a junior, he averaged 16.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.  Nunnally scored 20 or more points nine times last season and went for a career-high 34 in a win at Santa Clara.  Following the Gauchos' Big West Tournament title, he was named to the all-tournament team for the second straight year.

Serna battled injuries in 2010-11, but averaged 7.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots per game while shooting 56.7%.  He stepped-up in the three conference tournament wins, averaging 12.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game while making 13-of-19 shots from the field, 68.4%, and all 10 of his free throw attempts.  In fact, Serna's two highest scoring games of the season came in the Big West Tournament semifinals (16 vs. Cal State Northridge) and championship game (14 vs. Long Beach State).  Like Johnson and Nunnally, he was named to the Big West All-Tournament Team.

UCSB opens the 2011-12 season on Nov. 5 with an exhibition game against San Francisco State.  The regular season opens on Nov. 11 against Chapman University.  The non-conference home schedule is highlighted by games against UNLV (Nov. 30), San Diego State (Nov. 26), Portland (Nov. 22), Santa Clara (Nov. 15) and Westmont (Nov. 18).

Season tickets for UCSB basketball are available now!  The Gauchos have an exciting home schedule that includes UNLV, San Diego State, Santa Clara, Portland and eight Big West games.  There are several creative ticket plans available, including the Big West+1 plan that gives fans the opportunity to watch all eight Big West games and either the contest against UNLV or San Diego State.

For more information or to purchase season seats, please call 805-893-UCSB, drop by the Ticket Office in Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus or click here.  

The ICA Ticket Office is conveniently open on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and don't forget, there are two parking spots located between the ICA Building and Robertson Gym.